Armed TSA Agents Supported by Majority of Americans

americans better off trusting each other with gunsNearly 60 percent of
respondents in the latest Reason-Rupe poll said they believed TSA
agents at airports
ought to carry guns
. 35 percent opposed the idea, and only 4
percent gave the measured response that it “depends.” The high
level of support for arming the agents oppose it that have operated
airport checkpoints since 9/11 could be a result of last month’s
shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, in which the first
TSA agent to die in the line of duty was killed. The alleged
shooter reportedly went to the airport looking specifically to
target a TSA agent.

For more than a decade, TSA agents at airports have been
unarmed, with no major incidents at any airport checkpoint. Indeed,
in most security-related incidents involving TSA at the airport,
it’s the agents accused of misconduct and criminal activity,
largely theft. Earlier this year, a GAO study found
misconduct by TSA agents up 26 percent in 3 years. A 2011 report in
the LA Times
that fewer than 500 TSA employees had been arrested for
alleged theft, about .3 percent of the workforce, but acknowledged
it could just be that “culprits just don’t get caught very often.”
In its twelve years of existence, however, the kinds of situations
where a TSA agent might need to be armed have been even rarer, with
that first fatality occurring just a few months ago. It’s far from
clear arming TSA agents would have any positive effect anyway. At
for example
, about 400 armed police officers already patrol the
airport. Arming the agents that have to engage with every single
traveler at the airport will only make an uncomfortable situation
for flyers even more so, with no benefit to show for it. 

from Hit & Run

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